April 18, 2018 7:43:21 pm
The US will place “reciprocal restrictions” on the movement of Pakistani diplomats in the country from May 1, forcing them to stay within 40 kms of the city they are posted in, according to media reports. The US’ move came after Pakistan imposed restrictions on American diplomats in the country and barred them from visiting the tribal belt and Karachi.
Pakistani officials, however, had argued that those were not restrictions but security measures intended to protect American diplomats.
The US is doing so as Islamabad has already imposed similar restrictions on US diplomats in Pakistan, the DawnNews reported quoting a senior State Department official.
In an interview with the Voice of America’s Uzbek service, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said, “Typically, these kinds of restrictions are reciprocal in nature, so I’ll just leave it at that.”
He was asked if the US government was going to restrict the movement of Pakistani diplomats in the country.
Asked if the Trump administration had notified the Pakistani government, the senior US official said: “Our diplomats are under travel restrictions. They can travel further, but they have to notify the government of Pakistan.”
Shannon tried to downplay the impact of the US decision by adding that such practices were “very common in diplomacy”, and instead of focusing on this the need was to look at continued engagement between the two countries, the Dawn reported.
According to earlier media reports, the Trump administration had notified Pakistan recently that from May 1, diplomats at their embassy in Washington and at consulates in other cities would not be able to travel beyond 40 km of their offices without permission.
According to this notification, diplomats would need to apply for permission at least five days ahead of an intended travel outside the imposed 40km radius.
Officials from both the countries, the US and Pakistan, however, have made it clear that the notice had nothing to do with the case of an American military attache at the US embassy in Islamabad, who is charged with causing the death of a Pakistani national and injuring another in a road accident.
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